Public intellectuals around the world are known for their bitter rivalry which often plays out in high-octane arguments such as those of the 1980s between the late professors, Ali Mazrui and William Ochieng.’
Battle of the titans as David Ndii takes on Miguna Miguna
Contemporary Kenyan public intellectuals include David Ndii, Miguna Miguna, Phillip Ochieng, Makau Mutua, Mutahi Ngunyi, Godfrey Murunga, Peter Kagwanja, among others.
They are known, not just their prolific ideas, but also for their sharp debating skills which are now easily published on social media.
On Monday, netizens were treated to a rare duel on Twitter between Miguna and the Oxford-trained economist Ndii - both famous for their acerbic wit.
Raila Odinga academic credentials
The subject matter? ODM Leader Raila Odinga's academic credentials or lack thereof.
Ndii defended Odinga from a blogger who claimed the former Prime Minister was the "fake engineer" that Deputy President William Ruto recently talked about.
The former Nasa strategist shared a link showing Odinga to be a registered member of the Engineering Board of Kenya (EBK), as well as photos of the ODM leader visiting his alma matter in Germany.
Miguna, however, hit back claiming that Odinga's school did not exist in the 1960s.
"That was not an ACCREDITED university or technical institute in East Germany in the 1960s when Raila purportedly graduated from there. In addition, that school did not have an engineering faculty in the 1960s. Raila must come up with better lies," the Canadian barrister stated.
Otto Von Guericke University Magdeburg
Ndii responded by sharing a list of the prominent individuals in Europe who attended Otto Von Guericke University Magdeburg, but Miguna would have none of it.
"There are a lot of PROMINENT GERMANS who have had their "diploms" revoked for fraud. It happens even in Germany - prominence or no prominence. The difference here is that I have actually visited @RailaOdinga's former village polytechnic and confirmed it didn't give him a diploma," Miguna retorted.
Ndii then challenged Miguna on his memoir, Treason, accusing Miguna of lying in certain instances.
"But you do have a fertile imagination. You claim in your latest book to have been with Raila in Riverside with graphic details on Nov 12 while I and others were with him at his house from 7 a.m and another venue in Karen before proceeding to Panari. Let us lead by example," the economist stated.
"So, why is your version true and mine false? I have published a book containing details of our meetings at the Dust D2 Hotel. Those who attended those meetings have not denied or contradicted what I said. You were not in those meetings. I cannot comment about your meetings," Miguna hit back.
Ndii did not relent as he challenged Miguna's use of the title "doctor" without a PhD.
"Leadership integrity is judged in court of public opinion not court of law. Now on academic credentials, my understanding is Canadian JD has academic standing of a second undergrad degree. Your Alma Mater offers both JD and PhD. Is to customary for Canadian JD’s to use Dr. title?" he asked, a question Miguna did not offer a reply.
The economist further castigated Miguna for writing memoirs castigating people he had worked with.
"Writing exposés of people who have trusted you is not my idea of either intellectual prowess or valour. Needless to say, its not how one builds team player credentials," Ndii stated.
The battle was still ongoing by the time of publishing this story, with more salvos expected.
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